Train travel in Sri Lanka is a common way to get around. If you go to Sri Lanka, don’t miss out on taking the train from Ella to Nuwara Eliya. You will see stunning views of tea plantations, waterfalls, misty green valleys, interesting people, and lush tropical foliage. I was so upset when I heard the train was supposed to go on strike, and thought I might miss this experience. The minute I heard they weren’t going to strike, I headed to the train station and lucked out and got the last ticket in the observation car.
I also met an incredibly nice Sri Lankan family. I spent the day looking out the back window. They spent the day facing the other direction and looking at me. The children were so happy to practice their English and were asking me questions like, “What village do you come from?”
They were so sweet, and even invited me to share their lunch. I had to decline as my stop for the train was nearing. So, the father of the family helped me get my bags off the train. I told him that I appreciated his help so much. His reply was that I was coming to their country, and he wanted to make me feel welcome. I felt so grateful for their kindness and hospitality. I loved the views, the people I met, and my entire experience of train travel in Sri Lanka.
Once I arrived in Nuwara Eliya, I went to Victoria Park. Parks are supposed to make you feel happy, but this one just made me feel sad and homesick. They charge tourists almost $3 to see the park. If you are a local you get in almost for free. So, there were no tourists except for me. I am not sure what they use the money for, but most of the plants were dying, and there was trash all over the park. Also, it is against the law to play in the park. I think that’s what made me feel sad. This park made me appreciate all the beautiful free parks we have in Oregon where I live.
Also, what made me even sadder was the graffiti on the living plants! I have never seen this before. Of course, this is probably one of the most boring towns I’ve ever been in, and if you can’t play in the park, I guess that leaves vandalizing the park.
There was a sign that they could use a few more of in Sri Lanka, or for that matter, the world.
I’ve had a hard time here in Sri Lanka, but I thought of how sometimes among the suffering or challenging times, you will find one beautiful flower or one beautiful person, or a whole family of them, and how that can make even the darkest moments worthwhile. I also thought that I really shouldn’t be anywhere that playing wasn’t allowed, and so I left.
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